Alberta Bucket List Adventure #86: Participate In a Winter Sport/Activity
As a proud Canadian, it is a bit embarrassing to admit that I don't know how to skate. In fact, I have never been a winter sport kind of person in the slightest. Sure, I took a few skiing lessons in elementary school and I would occasionally go sledding as a child, but that was about the extent of my outdoor activities during the winter season. And that's saying something for a guy who lives in a winter city like Edmonton!
Ice Tennis League founder Tristan Knight.
That's one of the reasons why I felt compelled to include this particular adventure on my "Alberta Bucket List." Not just because it was something that I personally wanted to check off, but also because I know that there are plenty of other Canadians - and specifically Albertans - out there who have about the same amount of winter sports experience as I have. And perhaps they too would like to do something to change that.
With that said, anything to do with putting on skates, or skies for that matter, didn't interest me. At least not for now. Even excluding skating and skiing, there are many other options out there when it comes to physical activities to do during the wintertime, namely outdoors. There's snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice fishing, ice sailing, skijoring, snowmobiling, dogsledding, tubing, fat biking, and of course, tobogganing, to name a few.
Me in my ice cleats and knee pads.
But almost like it was fate, I just so happened to come across something different than all of those while scrolling through social media one night last month. I had never heard of it before and was intrigued by some of the clips I watched online. It was called ice tennis. That's right, tennis on ice!
According to Tristan Knight, the Edmonton native who founded the first-ever Ice Tennis League, the sport has been around for decades and has been played around the world. However, it's never exactly "caught on" and become a mainstream activity anywhere, or at least that I am aware of. Nonetheless, it certainly has the potential to do just that.
Tristan and I began conversing online and he invited me to come out and give it a try. Reluctantly, yet excitedly, I agreed. In fact, I thought this might be the perfect start to my "Alberta Bucket List" adventures...something way out of my comfort zone.
But wait, I thought you didn't know how to skate? That is still the truth, unfortunately, but as it turns out, you don't actually NEED to know how to skate. Ice tennis can be played on skates or simply by slipping on a pair of ice cleats. I chose the latter.
On the first Saturday of the year (Jan. 7), I drove to the other side of the city to the Cattail Crossing Golf & Winter Club in Sturgeon County, where I met up with Tristan for the first time. As I equipped myself with some cleats, helmet, and knee pads, Tristan told me about how he discovered ice tennis himself and why he decided to form the Ice Tennis League, or ITL, in 2019. He fell in love with the sport immediately and believes that it has the potential to grow into something big in Canada, and even around the world.
Tristan and I playing ice tennis.
I couldn't agree more. It took some getting used to playing tennis on ice, especially for a guy who purposely avoids ice that doesn't go into my whiskey glass, but I caught on pretty quickly and easily. I had far more fun than I had anticipated, and it's a great way to stay physically active during the winter months, night or day.
If you would like to know more about ice tennis or the ITL, or would like to find out how to play a game yourself, you can visit the official website or find the ITL on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
And so it begins. This was the kick off of my journey through "The Ultimate Alberta Bucket List," and I can't wait for the next adventure! Follow along here or on Facebook, or you can purchase the book and ignite your own "Alberta Bucket List" journey!! Cheers.
'The Ultimate Alberta Bucket List.'